An erect subglabrous herb or undershrub, 0.5-2 m tall. Leaf stipulate, sti¬pule 5-10 mm long, linear, petiole 2-3 cm long, rachis 1-4 cm long, gland c. 2 mm long, present between lowest petiolules, petiolules c. 2.5 mm, leaflets 3 pairs, 1.5-6 cm long, 1.2-3 cm wide, obovate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface hairy, rounded at the top, apex minutely acute, base tapering, cuneate to acute, slightly oblique. Racemes short, peduncle c. 2 mm long, bearing 1-2 flowers. Bracts linear-acute, glabrous except the edges, 4-8 mm long, pedicel 1.2-3.5 cm long, in fruit up to 4.5 cm long, hairy. Sepals membranous, ovate, acute to rounded-ovate, 6-7 mm long, glabrous or hairy on edge. Petals unequal in size, more or less ovate, obtuse or rounded, 12-15 mm long, the upper petal truncate or emargi¬nate, narrow at the base, but claw indistinct. Stamens 10, 3 lower longest, 4 lateral smaller, 3 upper stamens staminodial. Ovary more or less glabrous, ribbed, style glabrous, stigma truncate. Pods subterete, glabrous to subglabrous, indehiscent, 10-25 cm long, 4-8 mm wide, septate, 20-50 seeded, seeds rhomboidal, dark brown, 4-5 mm long, albumen copious.
Fl. Per.: August-September.
Type: Hortus Elthamensis, Dellenius (OXF). Grown from seeds collected ‘circa Havanam in Cuba insula’. For further discussion see Brenan (l.c.).
Distribution: W. Pakistan, Punjab; Kashmir; distributed in the tropical regions of the world except Polynesia and Australia (Brenan, l.c. 1958).
The plant contains emodin.